The 2nd section in the book The Third Teacher encourages our schools and classroom to be learning spaces that encourage creativity and innovation. One of my favorite quotes in this section is from Jean Piaget – “The principal goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done – men who are creative, inventive, and discoverers.”
This section includes an interview with Sir Ken Robinson, whose TED talk I posted a while back. It challenges educators to look at things in a novel way. Just because it’s the way you learned it 30 years ago, doesn’t mean it’s the best way for kids to learn today. It also challenges teachers to get away from teaching from their desk at the front of the class (I don’t know of any who do this in lower elementary grades which is probably a good thing.).
Our knowledge about how we build neural networks and different modes of learning are also important in the make up of kids’ learning environments. I highly recommend John Medina’s book Brain Rules, and any of Dr. Mel Levine’s books that talk about different kinds of learners. Of course a quick read about Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences on Wikipedia is worthwhile.
Posting kids work (current and past), emulating museums, integrating the disciplines are all important in the development of minds. And finally, form follows function. As excited as we are about a new campus building. In the end, it’s just a shell or a corpse. It will be the kids, parents, teachers, administrators, and greater community that make a school a great place to nurture young minds.